Saturday, December 29, 2007

Call us crazy.....

Call us crazy, just don't call CPS. I am sure people get arrested for stuff like this. Our kids heard the idea of a "totally chocolate dinner" someplace and they have never forgotten it. So, they asked if we could have a "totally dessert dinner" on Christmas night. Michaela baked that awesome looking Mud Pie on the table. Together they made the Oreo Fluff which is in the bowl next to the pudding. There are also chocolate octopus cookies behind the Mud Pie that Michaela made. The remaining items were by their request and courtesy of Wal-mart. I know, I know - we have had plenty of protein and veggies since then :-)
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Critters Christmas

Disney-Cat and Diego-Dog enjoying their Christmas pressies
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Christmas Joy

The kids opening gifts - Webkinz...the Wii & Guitar Hero. Life is sweet.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Kasselman Family Holiday Newsletter 2007

Dear Friends and Family
So this is the latest that the Kasselman newsletter has ever made an appearance, I do apologize. But why? Let me count the ways…
1. About a month ago I dated something 1996. Clearly I am not ready for December 2007.
2. It stayed warm so long before the winter weather hit, it just felt like summer.
3. Once I missed my first deadline on getting it done, I grew very comfortable with missing the next 17 I had given myself.
So you get the picture. Then came the inspiration issue. As I like to say, “got nothing for you.” I tried to write this letter several times but it either sounded like some newspaper report or a report on how perfectly great our kids and life was. And due to the fact that we prefer to deal in reality that was not an option. So, I got creative…a poem – not good. A monthly look at the life of the Kasselmans – exponentially worse. A song – seriously it was bad. Just as I was about to tip the cheese factor over to a place of no recovery I stopped. I decided to cut the cute and just write a letter. So here goes.

2007 has been a ….year! I turned 40, ouch and we celebrated 21 years of marriage. Spencer went to 1st grade and that felt like real school compared to Kindergarten. Michaela entered 6th grade at a new school and we got our first dog. The dog about put me over the edge. Dogs seem so domestic – like what grown ups own, you know, parents have dogs. David reminded me we are parents, grown ups, 40+ and domestic already. Okay, point taken. Our dog, Diego is not just any dog you see. He is a dorkie. I have not taken up name calling – he really is. On his birth certificate mind you. A yorkie/daschund mix. Disney, our cat meows “Dork” to him and I don’t think it is because she forgets the “ie.” Her life has been altered in ways she never dreamed about.

In my attempt to avoid the travel log or kid achievement version of newsletters, I wanted just to share 4 things that have made our year special.
1. At spring break this year, we bust out the free Delta passes that we received after being bumped off a flight of theirs last year and off we headed to Seattle, WA. We crashed the home of our old College buddies, Mike and Dena Johnson for a week and it was fabulous. Their 5 kids and our 2, plus the 4 adults made for a fun week together. The treasure on this trip was seeing our kids all become friends. How great is that?

2. David led a mission team to Nicaragua this summer. After being in Paraguay last summer and seeing some of the hardships there he felt prepared for this trip but was met with some of the hardest living conditions that he had ever seen. The team did good work, met great people and as always happens on mission trips, came away feeling like they had received more than they had given.

3. The summer. I know this is a no brainer. What is not to like about lazy days and no school schedule. But this was different. We added a nephew, Matthew, who married my niece Rachel in the most beautiful wedding ever.

4. School. Michaela started 6th grade at a College Prep faith based school here in town. So far it seems like a great fit for her. It provides a good academic challenge but also places great emphasis on the Arts and so she gets to enjoy her music interests also. Spencer just slid into 1st grade like butta’. His precious teacher seems to have unlocked a window of learning in him like we never expected. He has fallen in love with books and reading although can still use them as rocket launchers, Frisbees and step stools when needed. I have continued in my graduate studies through ACU. I feel so alive and healthy in the context of school. I love the books, the conversations, the challenges. Some I love more than others, but overall it is just great.

Spencer is doing Basketball for the first time and seems to be enjoying that. He is losing teeth and growing like a weed. He started Piano lessons and seems to really love that. He has not lost his moves and for those of you have seen him bust it out to Toby Mac or KJ-52 he is still the Little Rapper Boy! I think the music gene is in him also! Michaela is still singing with the Amarillo Youth Concert Choir for Girls and is also in their show choir Pizzazz. She stopped Piano this year because of adding the show choir and the increased homework load of 6th grade. However, she still plays around on the keyboard and helps Spencer a lot. Because her new school is so small she also has the opportunity of playing sports there which is a nice change from music, music, music. She too has grown like crazy and we can not keep her in clothes and shoes!!! David is still loving his role as Executive Minister at Central and I think has really found his sweet spot. We have just completed our 6th year here in Amarillo. Amazing.

Really the only thing that matters at the end of the day or year, in this case, is time spent with the ones you love, and the One who loves us & lives that look increasingly more like His.

Have a great Christmas and New Year and as we always say, come and see us!
David, Arlene, Michaela, Spencer, Disney-Cat and Diego-Dog Kasselman.
(PS Michaela is in her Rock and Roll Show Choir uniform and Spencer is being an elf)

Eat This Book by Eugene Peterson

I have just finished this book today and it was an amazing read. Hear these words from Peterson in the section dedicated to Lectio Divina. Get this book, read it, eat it.

Contemplation means submitting to the biblical revelation, taking it within ourselves, and then living in unpretentiously, without fanfare.. It doesn't mean (and these are the stereotyped misunderstanding) quiet, withdraw, secluded, serene, or benign. It has nothing to do with whether we spend our days as a grease monkey under an automobile or on our knees in a Benedictine choir. It doesn't mean "having it all together." It doesn't mean being emotionally and mentally well-balanced.
Contemplatives fly off the handle, make bad judgments, speak out mistakenly and regret their words, run stoplights an get speeding tickets. Contemplatives get depressed, get confused, get fat, get lost, and sometimes don't get it at all. "Contemplative" is not a term of achievement. It is not a badge of merit.
Contemplative is a designation that any one of us can accept for ourselves and one that we all should. We will never read and live the Bible rightly if we don't. Lectio divina anticipates and assumes contemplation. If it makes us feel better to attach the adjective "failed" I have no objection. Failed contemplative. All contemplatives are failed contemplatives. But the word itself, whether as adjective or noun, stands: contemplative.
Contemplation means living what we read, not wasting any of it or hoarding any of it. but using it up in living.